Situated in the Kansai region, Osaka is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan after Tokyo. The city is exceptionally lively with beautiful skyscrapers, efficient infrastructures, and spotless streets. The kindness of the Japanese adds up to the beauty that is Osaka, not forgetting the unique culture of Japan that is sure to impress anyone who visits.
For foodies, a trip to Dotonbori is the answer to your gastronomical quests. Be prepared to be spoilt by a wide variety of food choices that can be found there – from takoyaki (octopus balls), gyoza (dumpling) and ramen to delectable sushi. The entire area of Dotonbori is thronged with a great number of restaurants and cafes to satisfy every gastronomist’s tummy.
Located along the south bank of the Dotonbori-gawa Canal, the promenades on both sides of the canal are illuminated with neon signboards. A short distance from the Ebisu Bridge crossing the canal, the famous Glico Man sign can be clearly seen. It is one of the most well-known landmarks of Osaka, having glowed over the canal for over 80 years. Visiting Osaka without making a stop in Dotonbori would be like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, so make sure you slot in this place as a top priority in your must-visit in Osaka list!
An old neighborhood south of Osaka, Shinsekai is bound to transport you back in time to 1912. Directly translating to “New World”, Shinsekai was modeled as a futuristic entertainment area during that time. The reconstructed Tsutenkaku Tower boldly stands in the middle of Shinsekai, where part of the tower has been destroyed by a fire in 1943. The streets of Shinsekai are densely populated with traditional Japanese restaurants and vintage arcades – true relics from another time. It is undeniably interesting to see 1960’s advertisements still being used in the area. Shinsekai may have the reputation as one of Japan’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, but rest assured it is relatively safe to travel in the area.
A local tourist attraction, the Osaka Castle is a popular spot for millions of people visiting the iconic landmark each year – especially during the cherry blossom season. Inside the Osaka Castle is a modern museum with interactive displays, well-designed galleries, and an elevator. As opposed to other castles and historical landmarks of Japan, the Osaka Castle may come off as a reproduction of a historical monument. However, the wealth of information on display at the castle makes up for the lack of authenticity of the landmark. If you are unwilling to part with your money to go inside the castle, feel free to take a stroll in the beautiful park surrounding it.
Architecture buffs – the Umeda Sky Building is the place you need to be. The 173-meters tall building is a very shiny structure of glass and steel consisting of two separate towers conjoined by a ring-like observation deck on the top floor. The panoramic view from the rooftop, the “Sky Walk”, offers the best views of the city through its windows and open-air deck. Expect a satisfying sense of peace and tranquility from the rooftop where you can hear the soothing sounds of the wind blowing. Head downstairs of the building for restaurants and cafés to fill your tummy or have a drink with a pleasant 360-degree view of the city.
Osaka is truly a city of the greatest attractions. It pulses with its own unique rhythm with so much to see and do – it is home to the best foods, most up-to-date fashions, and warmest locals. The charming city provides one of the best experiences one could ever have in Japan, minus the hordes of Tokyo. Be in awe as you begin to discover more than there is to Osaka, and you will definitely want to visit again.